When the Dolphins drafted WR Clyde Gates in the fourth round last year, fans had high expectations due to his lightning 4.3 forty speed. He is the fastest player on team and who can catch him? He had so much potential, right? With such high hopes for this speedster from Abilene Christian, unfortunately his probability of being one and done as a Miami Dolphin is increasing each day.
Sure, I realize many of you will argue that it’s way too early to begin his eulogy considering the preseason games have not even started. But let’s be honest with each other, the odds are not in his favor. Let’s be optimistic and say the Dolphins keep six receivers on the 53 man roster. Based on the recently released depth chart and opinions of several Dolphin beat writers, Gates doesn’t appear to be in that top six.
WRs Legedu Naanee, Davone Bess, and Chad Johnson are expected to be the only solid “locks” on this team. Even though WR Brian Hartline has been sidelined all training camp due to a calf injury, he is still expected to make the team. That leaves room for just two more, and I do not think Gates will make the cut. He had a disappointing rookie year catching just two balls for 19 yards and his current production in training camp is proving to also be inadequate.
We already know Gates struggled in OTAs and minicamp earlier this year and he had trouble adapting to this new West Coast Offense. To make matters worse, Gates missed the first two weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury. In the meantime, guys like Julius Pruitt and Roberto Wallace have been reaping the benefits from the extra snaps and impressing the coaching staff with their play. Pruitt and Wallace have also proven to be solid on special teams which is an advantage to earning those final two WR slots.
Speaking of special teams, rookie RB Lamar Miller appears to be our future kickoff return specialist. That position use to belong to Gates, but now he is considered fourth on the depth chart for kick returns. His chances of making this team are slim if he can no longer even contribute on special teams.
One could even argue that undrafted free agent WR Jeff Fuller is slightly ahead of Gates, since he already knows the majority of the offense playing under Mike Sherman at Texas A&M. Fuller has also remained healthy during this offseason and has shown streaks of playmaking skills during minicamp and training camp. Gates has yet to demonstrate his ability to be a threat in this offense and has pretty much been non-existent this offseason.
As much as it upsets me to write this article about Gates, his time here in Miami will most likely be short lived. Since the Dolphins spent two late draft picks on WRs Rishard Matthews and B.J. Cunningham while also acquiring Naanee and Johnson, the pressure was on Gates to perform early this offseason. Unfortunately, he has failed to prove himself and make the next step. The truth hurts, but that is the reality of the situation. Unless he surprises us and has a stellar preseason, Gates appears to be one and done in Miami.